Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Engaging in SoTL - getting started

Introducing a 6-stage framework against which all forms of scholarship including SoTL can be designed, implemented and evaluated.

A useful place to start with SoTL is the work of Glassick, Huber and Maeroff. In 1997 (building on Boyer’s 'Scholarship reconsidered') they published 'Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate'.

The authors introduced a 6 stage framework against which all forms of scholarship including SoTL can be designed, implemented and evaluated. The stages of the framework are:

  • Clear goals
  • Adequate preparation
  • Appropriate methods
  • Significant results
  • Effective presentation
  • Reflective critique

This University of Glasgow website (link below) is a useful resource that explains how one might engage with the stages of the framework; however the framework can also be used to categorise the different types of SoTL work in order that useful judgements might be made about them in terms of quality, rigour and impact.

5 Stages of SoTL - Guidance on how to 'do' SoTL

This is best summarised in the table (below) presented during the preparation for Hong Kong’s first Research Assessment Exercise (2006).

  Threshold Advanced Exemplary
Goals of the project Well-articulated and intentional Move well beyond existing work in field and represent innovations Articulates new goals that will advance the work of other scholars
Preparation of scholar's work Based upon prior scholarship in its area Includes broad synthesis of prior work Scholar aquires new knowledge and skills that enhance quality of work
Methods used to conduct work Follows conventions of scholarly efforts within its domain Takes full advantage of methods available to make its impact Generates new methods that enable others to enhance their scholarship
Evidence gathered to demonstrate impact of work Evidence appropriate to the scholar's field to evaluate proposed practices and ideas Evidence suggests that the scholar's ideas or practices are worth implementing Evidence suggests practices or ideas have had great impact on other scholars
Reflection on work Scholar has articulated lessons learned Scholar has made adjustments to practice based on reflection Scholar can report enhanced achievement of goals resulting from lessons learned
Communication of results to others Work is publicly accessible for others to use, build upon, and review critically Scholar's reflective work has been cited by others Work has had broad impact on practices and inquiry of many others interested in the same inquiry